April 26, 2017

Hi, families - Anna here. I'm jumping into the blogs today to share about a special project we've been working on at school over the past several weeks: a handmade quilt! The process of quilting is an illustration of the concepts of community that we teach here - everyone's contribution matters, and many parts are joined into a cohesive, beautiful whole - and each step of the work gives kids a chance to consider those concepts in a tangible, accessible way. 

The first step was a fine-motor challenge inspired by the Japanese art of Shibori tie dye: using popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and other findings to wrap small squares of fabric into different configurations. This was a real challenge (rubber bands are so tricky!), and it was exciting to see kids encouraging and helping each other to persevere. Some even embraced the challenge and asked to make extras; how could we say no?!

When we had lots of wrapped squares, Nora took charge of the indigo dye. This is such a curious process, and kids were fascinated to peek into the folds of their fabric and predict what kinds of designs they might be making. After the squares had soaked for a bit, kids unwrapped them and marveled (along with teachers!) at the gorgeous outcome.

When the squares had dried, teachers took an afternoon to sew them together in preparation for the next kid job: layering the quilt top, cotton batting and backing together, and pinning them into position. A small group worked on using straight pins (another tricky job) and on trimming the edges of the batting to match the size of the top.

Over the past few days, Nora and I have been working with kids to stitch and tie the layers together - we hope to complete the binding of the edges (our very last step!) later this week. We can't wait to see the final outcome of everyone's hard work!

Our community quilt will be on view and up for auction at Big Night Out next week - all proceeds will support making RHP into a more inclusive community than ever before! We hope to see all of you there.

Below, photos of our process. Wrapping:

Dyeing:

Sewing: